The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero

The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero

by Timothy Egan


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"An old-fashioned tale of tall talk, high ideals,and irresistible appeal . . . You will not read a historical thriller like this all year . . . [Egan] is a master storyteller." —Boston Globe

“Egan has a gift for sweeping narrative . . . and he has a journalist’s eye for the telltale detail . . . This is masterly work.” — New York Times Book Review

In this exciting and illuminating work, National Book Award winner Timothy Egan delivers a story, both rollicking and haunting, of one of the most famous Irish Americans of all time. A dashing young orator during the Great Hunger of the 1840s, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony for life. But two years later he was “back from the dead” and in New York, instantly the most famous Irishman in America. Meagher’s rebirth included his leading the newly formed Irish Brigade in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War. Afterward, he tried to build a new Ireland in the wild west of Montana—a quixotic adventure that ended in the  great mystery of his disappearance, which Egan resolves convincingly at last.
“This is marvelous stuff. Thomas F. Meagher strides onto Egan's beautifully wrought pages just as he lived—powerfully larger than life. A fascinating account of an extraordinary life.” — Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat
“Thomas Meagher’s is an irresistible story, irresistibly retold by the virtuosic Timothy Egan . . . A gripping, novelistic page-turner.” — Wall Street Journal


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544944831
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 03/07/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 29,224
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

TIMOTHY EGAN is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, a winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in nonfiction, and the author of seven books, including The Worst Hard Time, which won a National Book Award, and the national bestseller The Big Burn. He lives in Seattle, Washington.


Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

November 8, 1954

Table of Contents

Introduction: Last Day-July 1, 1867 xi

Part I To Be Irish in Ireland

1 Under the Bootheel 3

2 The Becoming 17

3 Poetry in Action 28

4 Pitchfork Paddies 49

5 The Meanest Beggar in the World 68

Part II To be Irish in the Penal Colony

6 Island of the Damned 85

7 The Traitor of Tasmania 102

8 Flight 118

Part III To Be Irish in America

9 Home and Away 131

10 Identity 150

11 The Fever 160

12 War 172

13 First Blood 182

14 The Call, the Fall 189

15 Summer of Slaughter 199

16 Reasons to Live and Die 214

17 The Green and the Blues 228

18 A Brigade No More 242

19 A Second Banishment 255

20 New Ireland 268

21 The Remains of a Life 287

22 River Without End 299

23 Inquest for Ireland 309

Acknowledgments 320

Source Notes 323

Index 353

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The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly reccomend this book. It gave me a better understanding of Irish history through the experiences of one man while including the people, politics and history of 3 continents. The story is interesting in itself and can be enjoyed as the story of one man. However, his experiences are a study of the prejudices, cruelties and perseverances of humans too often repeated. I could not help but compare parts of the Irish experince at the hands of the British to some of the experiences of slaves in America. Both had elements of racism, politics and greed. This is a thought provoking book and a WELL TOLD STORY!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had never heard of Thomas Meagher and now will never forget him. This is a not only an important history lesson but inspirational story of Irish spirit and endurance. Thank you a Timothy Egan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We will meet again in the clearing at the end of or paths
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This biograpy of a little known historical figure was fascinating reading makes me want to go back to helena to see his statue
jmgallen More than 1 year ago
“The Immortal Irishman” is the biography of Thomas Francis Meager whose drive and initiative are emblazoned upon the history of three continents. Born in Waterford in 1823, the son of a wealthy merchant, mayor of Waterford and member of the British House of Commons, Thomas involved himself with the Young Ireland Movement. His participation in the Young Ireland Rebellion of 1848 resulted in his banishment to Tasmania where he lived in freedom so long as he remained in a defined area. There he married and established contacts with other exiles until his daring escape in 1854 that took him to New York. Prohibited from returning to Ireland, Meagher started a new career in America where he became a leader of the Irish Diaspora, remarried after his wife died and achieved martial glory as commander of the Irish Brigade in the Union Army during the Civil War. His final service was as governor of Montana during which he fought local corruption until his mysterious death in 1867. I liked this book for several reasons. First it opens a window into the histories of Ireland during the Famine Era through the tales of Meagher’s activities that were somewhat in contradiction of his father’s. The narrative of his time in Tasmania provides an insight into the life of transported convicts and others in the Australia of his day. The final chapters shine light on the challenges facing Famine immigrants in the United States including the Know Nothing movement, the record of the Irish Brigade and a look into the society of the post-war West. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in any of these topics.
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